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« SAG Ensemble. Our Annual "Fix This Rule" Gripe | Main | Original Song Eligibility List = Lots of Opportunities For Oscar Night Celebrity Live-Singing! »

SAG Nominations: Bless Them For 'Charlotte Bless'

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, now in their 19th year, are often a bipolar experience to read through. I'm annually enraged by the rules dictacting who receives a nomination when an ensemble nomination happens, but generally speaking there tends to one thing worth being super-thrilled about in the mix beyond all the sleep-inducing reiterations of every Oscar pundit's list.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS / Abraham Lincoln - "LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)
JOHN HAWKES / Mark - "THE SESSIONS" (Fox Searchlight)
HUGH JACKMAN / Jean Valjean - "LES MISÉRABLES" (Universal Pictures)
DENZEL WASHINGTON / Whip Whitaker - "FLIGHT" (Paramount Pictures)

In with Bradley Cooper. Out with Joaquin Phoenix? The Master enters the Oscar nomination period looking shakier than ever. We could see a complete shut out or 4 or 5 nominations for the handsome, well acted but ultimately not too accessible film. It might just be the year's biggest wild card at this point.

It's worth noting that people often emphatically exaggerate the meaning of "snubs". For all we know Phoenix's no show here was a matter of one vote, rather than anything to do with the movie (though it probably isn't well enough loved) or his feelings about awards campaigns. MORE...

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Maya - "ZERO DARK THIRTY” (Columbia Pictures)
MARION COTILLARD / Stephanie - “RUST AND BONE” (Sony Pictures Classics)
HELEN MIRREN / Alma Reville - “HITCHCOCK” (Fox Searchlight)
NAOMI WATTS / Maria - “THE IMPOSSIBLE” (Summit Entertainment)

Foreign language and barely seen performances have a tougher time winning the attention of the more mainstream skewing SAG than they do winning over Oscar voters so we could attribute the presence of Marion Cotillard and the absence of Emmanuelle Riva and Rachel Weisz to be a simple affirmation of Marion Cotillard’s A list stardom, Weisz’s low profile film, and Riva’s absence from the campaign trail –her work hast to speak for itself whilst Cotillard travels the Globe to hit every red carpet.

It’s also worth noting that while SAG generally loves little girl actors even more than Oscar, Quvenzhane Wallis was not eligible for this prize. So with Wallis & Riva & Weisz all still very much in the discussion and the extreme longshot possibility that Oscar voters might reject category fraud in the case of Helen Hunt or Ann Dowd, it would be surprising if this list transfers 100% to Oscar Nomination Morning.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
ALAN ARKIN / Lester Siegel - “ARGO” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JAVIER BARDEM / Silva - "SKYFALL" (Columbia Pictures)
ROBERT DE NIRO / Pat, Sr. - "SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK" (The Weinstein Company)
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN / Lancaster Dodd - “THE MASTER” (The Weinstein Company)
TOMMY LEE JONES / Thaddeus Stevens - “LINCOLN” (Touchstone Pictures)

This might qualify as SAG’s most curious nominee-set this year: Hoffman shows up without his elevating scene partner Joaquin Phoenix or his screen wife or an ensemble nomination so did the other two just miss and he just barely qualified on name and general fellow actor’s worship?;  Bardem is an oddity because outside of rare BAFTA nods, the 007 series rarely produces anything like an "awards" performance -- is it as simple as the bulk of voters actually SAW Skyfall (you’d be surprised how many voting members of various awards bodies don’t see very many movies before voting starts); Alan Arkin seems like the kind of nominee SAG would go for regardless of awards buzz  – see also Betty White’s umpteenth nod for Hot in Cleveland – but then you remember that he’s had Oscar buzz all year and you wonder how that happened? The buzz not this nomination; DeNiro and Jones are the only two who feel like dead certain Oscar nominees. But we shall see... perhaps it's a 5/5 prophesy.

Contrary to popular belief which comes partly from lazy media blabbering  SAG’s voting branch and Academy Acting’s Branch don’t really have that much of an overlap. SAG’s nominating committee changes regularly and is drawn randomly from their overall body which houses 100,000 members whereas there are only about 1,000+ actors that are members of the Academy’s Acting Branch.

The year's most unfortunate snub is surely Matthew McConaughey's great work as "Dallas" in Magic Mike. I've always cautioned that Oscar wouldn't take this fine film seriously enough despite McConaughey's ridiculously over-achieving peak year. I didn't want to be right! Hopefully this is a mere blip and I was wrong and he'll see his first Oscar nomination. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
SALLY FIELD / Mary Todd Lincoln - "LINCOLN" (Touchstone Pictures)
ANNE HATHAWAY / Fantine - “LES MISÉRABLES” (Universal Pictures)
HELEN HUNT / Cheryl - “THE SESSIONS” (Fox Searchlight)
NICOLE KIDMAN / Charlotte Bless - "THE PAPERBOY” (Millennium Entertainment)
MAGGIE SMITH / Muriel Donnelly - “THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL” (Fox Searchlight)

Even alphabetically speaking the top three are the actual top three in terms of awards buzz this annum. Otherwise the Supporting Actress field has remained elusive, foggy, and either barren or multi-headed depending on who you ask.. But I wouldn’t have it any other way because the general confusion created the extraordinary vaccum that sucked in the incomparable Nicole Kidman’s latest brilliant creation “Charlotte Bless”. This actress’s character gallery grows ever more diverse and crowded. Other actors really ought to bow down. And with SAG today, happily, some did.

"i can't believe we're doin' this"

I’ve heard a few random gripes on Twitter about this nomination, usually stemming from the consensus that The Paperboy is not a good film but no matter what one thinks of any particular film, the achievements WITHIN that film are the things you’re supposed to be talking about in any category outside of Best Picture.

What's your favorite and least favorite nomination here?

Notes on the "Outstanding Cast" Prize

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Reader Comments (82)

Maggie! Maggie! Yay!!!!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I'm saddened to see Cloud Atlas continually overlooked in the ensemble departments, and to see Jim Broadbent overlooked, again and again, for his magnificent comic work in that film (although Doona Bae and Ben Whishaw are every bit as good). And as wonderful as the cast of Lincoln is, I'm plumping for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to win ensemble -- watching it was like watching a master class in acting, particularly Tom Wilkinson and Judi Dench.

New to the blog, Nathaniel -- lurking for a few weeks now. You seem to strike just the right balance between camp, film literacy and obsession. Keep up the good work.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason Cooper

I'm so happy for Maggie Smith I can hardly breathe :)

Well done Nathaniel! for keeping her in your Supporting Actress top 5.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Gloria Reuben isn't in the ensemble of Lincoln?!! (or Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, S Epartha Merkerson)

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Glad to see they included Aaron Tveit in the Les Mis ensemble. Enjolras is one of my favorite characters, but I was afraid his star wattage wouldn't be high enough to get him included.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterReggina

But hey, Nicole Kidman is in there!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

Do we have to go through the "only get an ensemble nomination if you have a solo title card" explaination again? Yes, it's an arbitrary rule, but I wish people would stop being surprised about it.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Jack

hahah I'm just glad they snubbed Lindsay Lohan for TV movie Liz & Dick.
Now who thinks the Globes will do the same? ha

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

With a nom here as well as in the critics choice, maybe its time to start considering Javier Bardems potential as the first actor to get nominated for a role in a bond movie? He atleast deserves to be listed as a long shot.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJbj

SO HAPPY they included Marion Cotillard and Javier Bardem, that's helpful for those blessed campaigns. I'd be very happy with second Oscars for both, if they both got Oscar-ed 2007 and 2012? Sort of magical.

But why leave Jon Ortiz off the Silver Linings Playbook cast list? Why such a tiny Lincoln sampling?

And surely they could have made room for the cast of Moonrise Kingdom, couldn't they?

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean D

I'm so glad for you! Do you think Nicole still has wings now or are we facing a new White Oleander?

On a personal note I'll say that if I were an actor I would vote for Joaquín blindly so I don't understand the snub and also that I need to believe Amour was unelegible, otherwise I might fall into a depression.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I honestly don't think I saw a worse performance this year than Dev Patel's in Best Exotic.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDean

I'm with Peggy Sue on Amour. PLEASE tell me it was somehow ineligble. That is the only explanation for its total lack of love. You would think that actors, of all people, would respond to those actors giving THOSE performances.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

No Gloria Reuben in Lincoln's ensemble mentions??? FOR SHAME!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

Nathaniel you championed Nicole even when everybody threw her in the trash, this is not just her triumph but yours as well. Against all odds she made it through!

I'm just so gratful there are film blogs like these that are run by passionate film fans and (Kidmaniacs)!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLittle MY

peggy sue -- i just added a bit on my feelings for that regarding best actress.

ryan -- i'll get there in a minute. haha

December 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This season is happening so fast! Too fast for my taste. That doesn't help certain titles and performances.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

If Nicole makes it to the Oscars, I would be anticipating what clip they would choose when her moment comes up.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia


December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Peggy Sue and Denny... Amour was eligible to the SAGs. I tend to think, if Riva didn't get GG/BAFTA noms, she could be in the same situation as Albert Brooks, Sally Hawkins and Bill Murray... Favorites to the critics prizes but excluding to the big awards. Also Anne Thompson in her postcard said "Amour" isn't exactly liked by AMPAS members, even when they respect Riva and Trintignant work...

At least for my bright side, Marion Cotillard did it. Actually with Kidman, Day-Lewis, Cotillard and even with Bardem is a "Nine" reunion -I know Bardem wasn't in that film, but he's the first choice-.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Peggy Sue, I remember when Michelle Pfeiffer got in for White Oleander, and I had hoped she would have gotten an Oscar nomination. Sadly, Queen Latifah rode the Chicago wave and stole Pfeiffer's slot. Bah!!!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

LOL I literally screamed when Nicole's name was announced. This came out of NOWHERE and I fucking love it. And so deserved. If she doesn't show up anywhere else for the rest of the season, fans of the performance at least have this. Fantastic.

Hope you post your Kidman interview soon, Nathaniel! ;)

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjoshua

Nicole's nomination is the best surprise of the season so far. Well deserved.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese


Latifah had SAG and Globe nominations to support her inevitable Sup nomination at the Oscars. Meryl Streep however was missing when Pfeiffer filled out her spot. I always say when in doubt blame Streep for everything that's wrong in female acting categories during award season.

I'm super sad over Joaquin.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

It took reading this post again to realize that Matthew McConaughey missed out, probably because the Supporting Actor category is so weird and I was so surprised by Javier Bardem's nomination. That makes me very sad.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Jeffrey Wells about Nicole Kidman's nomination:

"Due respect to the admirable Nicole Kidman, but her Best Supporting Actress SAG nomination for The Paperboy, announced this morning, is, to say the least, a curious call. The Paperboy is an appallingly bad film, and Kidman's performance as a lacquered, sexed-up Florida floozie is, at best, a tawdry, campy thing. It's especially regrettable with SAG voters failing to nominate The Master's Amy Adams, Silver Linings Playbook's Jacki Weaver, Compliance's Ann Dowd and/or Arbitrage's Susan Sarandon -- all far more deserving of a nomination."

I think I agree with him.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercinephile

I'm confused by the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ensemble listing. It's just the older white actors and Dev Patel. Where are Dev Patel's girlfriend (Tena Desae) and mother (Lillete Dubey) who get more screen time than half of the included actors? This is not to downplay the quality of acting from those performers. They're just strange omissions. I have to wonder if Dev Patel would have made the cut without Slumdog Millionaire under his belt.

Good on them for nominating Maggie Smith, though. I'd like to have seen Judi Dench get in for lead, as well, but Maggie Smith is a fine representative for the film.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

If I counted right, among the 20 motion picture acting nominations, there are already 18 oscar wins. Curious. And if the supporting actor category transfers 5/5 (unlikely, I know) then the eventual winner will be a 2-time (or 3-time, if DeNiro) winner.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

cinephile -- well, then you're both wrong ;)

December 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

What did I say in that predictions column about Lincoln being the biggest victim of dubious cast snubs?
Someone explain to me how JGL's role is more prominent than Lee Pace, or even Michael Stuhlbarg and Gloria Reuben.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Kidman's film (and to a much lesser degree, her performance) are really love it (or admire in the film's case lol) or hate it so it's not surprising at all that Wells falls into the "Hate it" camp. Rarely does that man think outside of the box about anything.

I LOVE the Kidman nomination. And Bardem's! Really refreshing choices there.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael E

Everyone is sad for Joaquin, but I'm sure he doesn't give a rat's ass about being nominated.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaMonDoo

"Alan Arkin seems like the kind of nominee SAG would go for regardless of awards buzz – see also Betty White’s umpteenth nod for Hot in Cleveland – but then you remember that he’s had Oscar buzz all year and you wonder how that happened? The buzz not this nomination"

So true. This is the biggest example of self-fulfilling prophecies when it comes to awards season. Everybody thought he would have a shot at an Oscar nomination and now he has a shot simply because we all repeated it so often over and over again until he became a nominee. There's absolutely nothing awards worthy in that performance, much as I like his comic relief moments.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Kidman's performance "a tawdry campy thing." Well, what's wrong with that?

I'm astounded that Phoenix missed out. That is the performance of the year for me. I understand it's a stacked category and I'm going with Nat's suggestion; he missed out by one vote. Yes indeed. I just saw Lincoln a few days ago and was distracted at times by how much DDL sounded like Walter Brennan. Hard to take seriously after you come to that realization.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAR

Robert G -- that's an example of SAG's really anti-Guild like rule that preferences stars above the working class... even though it's a guild TO PROTECT THE WORKNIG CLASS . you basically have to have your own title card to be nominated and so if you're not famous or are less famous, you end up on the outside looking in even if you're one of the reasons the nominations happened in the first place -- see COREY STOLL in Midnight in Paris who I insist is the entire reason that cast was nominated ;)

December 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

what do you think of Zero Dark Thirty shut out of Ensemble?

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertesh

Best surprise nomination - NICOLE KIDMAN in The Paperboy especially one from her peers.
Even if she does not make it to the Oscars, this nomination simply blows me away. Charlotte Bless joins Grace x 2, Anna, Satine, Suzanne, Isabel, Becca......
I cannot wait to see the clip they use :).

I have been really surprised to see bloggers vocally rally behind her performance this year, that has usually never been the case so it is great to see interviews popping out left, right and centre almost 2 months after its release. She didn't even talk much about it at Cannes as it seems interviewers wanted to speak to other people so this change in the tide has been fantastic.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I look forward to the SAG Awards every year not because of their ingenuity or their fun, but because Nathaniel's annual article on whom the SAG Awards missed is one of my favorite awards season traditions. It's always guaranteed to surprise (wait, she didn't get nominated?!?) and celebrate actors/actresses on the edges. Can't wait!!!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Weisz :(

I finally saw it and I was starting to think she was going to be nominated - the performance is SO beautiful

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Hoping that Angelina Jolie's endorsement for Ewan McGregor's work in "The Impossible" pays off on Oscar nominations morning. But if there's any name I want to hear being called out in the Best Supporting Actor category, it's Matthew McConaughey for "Magic Mike." FUCK! That movie should've gotten an Ensemble nomination for crying out loud!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

"It's especially regrettable with SAG voters failing to nominate The Master's Amy Adams, Silver Linings Playbook's Jacki Weaver, Compliance's Ann Dowd and/or Arbitrage's Susan Sarandon -- all far more deserving of a nomination."

Well for one, Adams has been better and more deserving in other films. Ann Dowd, however superb, was a lead role. SAG often doesn't fall for category fraud. I haven't seen Arbitrage, so I can' comment. Jacki Weaver, as much as I have adored her since Animal Kingdom, was given nothing to do in SLP and certainly nothing to warrant awards attention. Proclaiming, "Oh Pat!" several times during a movie isn't going to get you an award!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfilmboymichael

FILMBOYMICHAEL: Your last comment about Jacki killed me! LOL

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Kidman got 2 noms. She's a legend. She can get nominated for an indie that made no money and is a very divisive film. That's the mark of a Legend. She's now in another category altogether, Congrats

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralexis

Best nomination: Nicole Kidman!

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKS

The fact that Wells is championing Jacki Weaver in SLP (as much as I love her!) should be enough to discount his opinion on the matter, truly. She didn't do a damn thing.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertap

I think the Best Actor list is the strongest and I'd be happy for that to be Oscar's list also. Best Actress is the most interesting Chastain and Lawrence are locks, and I would want to see Quvenzhane Wallis & Emmanuelle Riva join them. I love that Bardem has a nod in Supporting Actor, would expect Matthew McConaughey to make the oscar list. It's great to see Kidman in Supporting Actress, but I feel she is the only one who won't make the oscar list, I hope I'm wrong.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe U.K.

Now that Nicole Kidman has gotten a well deserved nomination can we get that interview?

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBenji

This is an Oscar-rich list -- made up almost entirely of many past winners and nominees.

In fact, I think Bradley Cooper is the only actor in any of the four individual categories who hasn't been nominated for an Oscar before! How's that for a statistic?

In the supporting category, all five men are former winners.

What does this say about SAG/Oscar overlap?

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

My two happiest discoveries upon reading this entry--Nicole's inclusion and Joaquin's exclusion. I love him, but his actorly simian performance in The Master was his worst ever. I'm over the moon for Nicole's brave artistry.

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

^ Add Hugh Jackman to that list

December 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan

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